Read the fine print in competitions

As many of you know, I spend a great deal of time each month searching for art and photo shows and competitions for our call for entries page. I try to find good local shows or national shows with great prizes. Recently I can across a call for entries for a local organization. It offered a modest prize of publication. Not all competitions need be offering large prizes. Publication and the publicity is enough for some budding Photogs. However, reading the fine print, this organization was claiming all rights to all the submitted entries! (not just winners).  I was quite shocked that for no compensation this group would claim ownership of the artists’ copyright.

I thought that perhaps the organization was misstating its intent. On the submission form, however, it clearly states that by entering the artist is transferring copyright to the organization.

“By submitting this form with the attached photograph, I certify that I own the copyright to this work and that I knowingly transfer that copyright to The Last Green Valley, Inc. for its use. The Last Green Valley, Inc. will credit me whenever the photograph is used.”

Be aware that when the copyright is knowingly transferred to another party, the artist no longer has a right to show, sell or in anyway use his or her own creation.  In a time when protection of  an artists’ work is difficult enough, it is a shock to see a respected organization trying to take advantage.  Be careful of what you give away and read everything before you sign away your rights and your hard work!

Another national photo competition in which the contestant is required to pay $25 entry fee, the fine print notes that all entries can be used by the “Sponsors” for whatever they wish to do with the images in perpetuity (Forever) without compensation to the artist.

USE OF ENTRY: By submitting an Entry, entrant grants the Sponsor and their designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use the Entry and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes in Sponsor’s online galleries, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. In addition, each winner grants to the Sponsor and their designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use, edit, modify, cut, rearrange, add to, delete from, reproduce, encode, store, transmit, produce, publish, rent, lease, distribute (directly or indirectly through multiple tiers), post, broadcast, publicly perform or display, adapt, exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse or exploit (without limitation as to when or to the number of times used) and use the Entries and entrants name, city and state of residence (for credit purposes) in perpetuity in any and all media including but not limited to digital and electronic media, in Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo, HDVideoPro and Digital Photo Pro magazines, computer, DVD, CD, print, audio and audio-visual media (whether now existing or hereafter devised), in any language, throughout the world, and in any manner for purposes of promotion of this Contest and other Sponsor’s contests and/or for purposes of advertising and promoting the Sponsor and, except as otherwise stated herein, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

Another small regional photo competition offering modest awards did their homework.  They want to be sure they can use the images received but are aware that the copyright belongs to the originator of the work.  They are specific about how they will use the work while they acknowledge that the ownership of the copyright still belongs to the artist.

“Your Rights: Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of the photographs they enter except for the following: Your entry to the contest constitutes your agreement to allow your entered photographs – and your name, age division, city, state, and country of residence – to be published on The Trustees of Reservations’ website, magazine, e-newsletter, and social media, and you grant to The Trustees of Reservations the perpetual, worldwide non-exclusive license to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry (along with a name credit) in connection with and promotion of The Trustees of Reservations, in any media now or hereafter known.”

The lesson here is read the small print. What you don’t know can hurt you!

Creative Communities Exchange

Last week I had the great opportunity to attend the NEFA’s (New England Foundation for the Arts) Creative Community Exchange in North Adams. This event, hosted by Mass MoCA and Berkshire Creative, focused on how development of creative spaces and creative economies has benefited towns and regions throughout New England.

The event was made up of workshops presented by cultural and creative community leaders.  The presenters focused on the successful implementation of developing the creative economy in their towns, cities or regions. With four different workshops in each session time slot, it was a difficult choice to decide which workshops to attend.

On Wednesday, May 18 the activities began with a tour of Mass MoCA lead by Joe Thompson, Director of Mass MoCA.  This was an intimate look behind the scenes.  It was wonderful to hear the story of space and exhibit development from such a knowledgeable person.

Thursday, May 19 was the start of the actual event.  A marvelous breakfast was served to attendees.  After a brief welcome we went to our chosen workshops.  The first one I attended was the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP). It was about the art challenges of a rural community and how developing the arts in Rockingham VT brought culture and economic growth to the area. The next session, Pittsfield Dept of Community Development: Downtown Renaissance was truly inspiring.  How a city of 44,000 with minimal art and culture presence was able to develop a thriving and healthy creative economy was the focus of this workshop.  After a delightful lunch, there were three more workshops. These covered developing creative partnerships and how small towns developed “Down Street” art centers.

Friday, May 20 started with another great breakfast followed by a “Spark” event designed to stimulate networking.  The workshops followed.  For the ending events an outstanding meal was provided with awards and speakers. Most notable among the speakers was  National Endowment For the Arts Chairman,  Rocco Landesman.  He is a powerful speaker with a meaningful message. His slogan, “Art Works” has inspired me.

I made several connections at this event. I hope to be able to implement some of the ideas presented in our region and I do hope to be able to attend future events of this kind. If anyone is interested in a more in depth discussion of what I learned, please phone me or send me an email and we can delve more fully into this exciting subject.